Terps Win ACC/Big Ten Challenge with Comeback

The Terps see their first comeback victory, beating Purdue 56-55, following a 14-2 run with just minutes left.

The Maryland women’s basketball team (6-1) emerged victorious against the previously undefeated Purdue Boilermakers (4-1) and extended their ACC/Big Ten Challenge win-streak to 4-0 on Thursday night in a 56-55 come-from-behind victory in West Lafayette, Indiana.

The match-up was marked by seemingly endless lead changes and runs by both teams, but Purdue seemed to have gained the advantage late in the second half, as the Terps were down by as many as 11 points with just over five minutes remaining in regulation.

However, the Terps proved tenacious, going on a 14-2 run in the final minutes of the game and finally gaining the lead from a fast break lay-up by freshman forward and current ACC Rookie of the Week Alyssa Thomas with 0:52 left to play.

Thomas, junior center Lynetta Kizer, and sophomore forward Diandra Tchatchouang scored all 14 points in the Terps’ comeback push, and also led the team in scoring for the night. Kizer led all scorers with 20 points, and Thomas and Tchatchouang each posted 12.

The Boilermakers were led by freshman guard Courtney Moses (12 points), who proved to be especially problematic for the Terps from beyond the arc, as she made all three of the 3-pointers she attempted.

However, despite the challenges she presented, the Terps’ momentum shift in the final minutes ultimately proved too dominant, as Moses had the opportunity to put Purdue in the lead but couldn’t follow through, missing a jumper to end the game.

The Terps, who currently lead the ACC in rebounding margin (+19.8) again out-rebounded their opposition, 40-27, led by Thomas with 9 and Kizer with 8.

Dara Taylor led the Terps in assists with 4 and served as the team’s point guard for the majority of the game (28 minutes), in contrast to previous games in which head coach Brenda Frese used a more frequent rotation between Taylor and freshman Natasha Cloud.

Taylor, as well as Tchatchouang, Thomas, Kizer, and Rodgers, led the team in minutes played, with all five Terps posting at least 24 minutes.

Partially responsible for the back-and-forth nature of the contest was the prevalence of turnovers, as was immediately evident when the two teams committed 4 turnovers in the first 1:30 of the game, totaling 51 for the night. The Terps turned the ball over 27 times, surpassing their season average of 21. Purdue recorded 24 turnovers.

The Terps struggled once again with shooting percentages, shooting 37.7% from the floor and just 10% from beyond the arc. Their strength proved to be from the foul line, where they shot 75%.

The Boilermakers shot 39.6% from the floor, 44.9% from 3-point range, and 81.3% from the foul line.

Although the Boilermakers topped the Terps in shooting percentages, the Terps’ ability to get to the foul line proved pivotal. The Terps took full advantage of Purdue going over the foul limit, and recorded 20 free throw attempts while gaining 15 points. The Boilermakers only made it to the free throw line 16 times and only recorded 13 points.

This determination to draw the foul proved essential for the Terps’ comeback, as 6 of the points in their 14-2 run came from free throws. The actual act of getting to the line also proved a profitable strategy, as the Terps were then able to score while the clock wasn’t running and control the tempo of the game.

In front of a crowd of 8,698 at Mackey Arena, the 2010-2011 Terps faced a similarly pressure-packed, foreign environment to that of Georgetown, but this time were able to return home victorious.

After two weeks away from Comcast Center, the Terps return to home to play Appalachian State on Sunday, December 5 at 2:00 p.m.

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